This report is the outcome of research commissioned by The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) on the “Status of Women’s Leadership in West Africa”. The study is regional in scope, with an empirical grounding in four countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sénégal. Côte d’Ivoire provides insights into women’s leadership in countries transitioning from protracted conflicts, while Ghana and Sénégal epitomise relatively politically stable countries in the process of democratisation. Nigeria was selected due to the size of its population and its geopolitical significance in the sub-region. These countries, individually and collectively, offer comparative and contextual insights into the continuities and changing dynamics of women’s leadership status in West Africa. The four countries shed light on the overarching governance and democratisation processes within which women’s demands for leadership are expressed. They also exemplify some of the challenges women face on the thorny quest for leadership and the prospects for change in women’s leadership development. Within this context, the core objectives of the research were to examine and document the evolution of women’s leadership in the region; map out women’s leadership in different sectors of West African society, and assess how women have contributed to governance and democratization.
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